Review of Victor’s recent races and championships.
Two cracks in the vertebra and a bruised rib were the injuries he sustained resulting from the crash in the Tour of Czech. Victor knew that a third Belgian title would be difficult, against Wout Van Aert who is in excellent condition. In an interview the day before the race he made this remarkable statement: “I am not 100%, but 99% and that makes me slower by 36 seconds on tomorrow’s time trial”.
The unleashed Wout van Aert succeeded himself as Belgian champion and Victor took silver with … 30 seconds difference.
This doesn’t mean that if he could have ridden at 100%, he would have won but he made that calculation which turned out to be a bit of a prophecy?!
Very satisfied with his second place, behind the currently, best rider in the world, he left for the European championship in Plouay, France.
There, a third European title seemed obvious. Nothing could be further from the truth. Swiss speedster Stefan Küng took the gold ahead of Rémi Cavagna. Victor, the top favorite, had to settle with bronze.
In contrast to the Belgian championship, this was a serious disappointment. Victor had a hard time dealing with it. He felt he had ridden a perfect and a better time trial than at the Belgian Championship. He had beaten Küng and Cavagna several times before, … this was difficult.
After a thorough analysis, 99% was also found to be insufficient. The 5 days of no training after the crash and the constant suppressing of the pain turned out to be the 1% he missed.
This also became clear in the road race two days later. For Victor it was his first national selection for a road race. He started with some nervousness. He wanted to prove that his selection was justified.
Until 40 km from the end, he was constantly in the forefront. He closed several holes and launched Sep Vanmarcke’s first serious breakaway attempt.
After that his part was over. After the race he complained of very bad legs and that he urgently needed to train volume again, after the Czech Republic. “I have not been able to do any endurance training”, he elaborated.
He did not need endurance training last Friday. During the mixed relay he was far too strong for his teammates: Jasper De Plus couldn’t keep up the pace and was dropped after 3 km and a little further Rune Herregodts missed a corner and ended up in the canal. Victor had to wait for De Plus, because they had to finish with 2. This was a joke for professional cycling!
This new discipline was organized for the second time. A team time trial, 3 men who are then relieved by 3 women, can become a new showpiece. Of course, some champs will have to show up at the start.
After the return journey from Plouay, the back pain returned. He also sustained a gigantic buttock injury on top of it.
From 7/9 to 14/9 he will ride in “Tirreno-Adriatico” and on 20/9, there is the World Championship Time Trial in Imola. We hope to bring great news afterwards.
Good luck Victor !!!